Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Xi Jinping are considered to be vigorous and transformative leaders who altered the course of China and set the country on the path to emerge as a modernised and powerful global player.
Since 1949, five generations of Communist leaders -- Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping -- headed China and developed distinctive and comprehensive doctrines enshrined in the party charter.
Recommended ArticlesView All
'Elephant in the room' — Finance Minister red-flags gold smuggling
IST2 Min(s) Read
Of these, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Xi Jinping are considered to be vigorous and transformative leaders who altered the course of China and set the country on the path to emerge as a modernised and powerful global player.
While China ‘stood up’ under Mao, it ‘grew rich’ under Deng and is ‘rising strong’ under Xi, Anurag Viswanath, an Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Studies in Delhi, wrote in The Times of India.
Here’s a look at how current leader Xi Jinping’s ideology is different from Mao and Deng Xiaoping, as the Chinese President is set to be granted a third term at the Communist Party’s 20th Congress, which will be held in Beijing on October 16.
Mao is deemed as the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. His vision on socialist revolution was philosophically different from Marxism-Leninism in some aspects.
Unlike Marxist-Leninist communists, who based their revolution on workers overthrowing the bourgeoisie in industrialised cities, Mao’s revolution started with the peasants and surrounded cities from the countryside.
ALSO READ: China's Communist Party to hold key Congress from Sunday to endorse record 3rd term for Xi Jinping, appoint new leaders
Mao also believed that revolution against capitalists was achieved through violence and mass support. His Continuous Revolution Theory resulted in the Great Leap Forward of 1958-62 and the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, but it also witnessed the deaths of millions of people. Mao’s ideology, often known as Mao Zedong Thought, was informally called Maoism.
Although Hua Guofeng became party secretary after Mao’s death in 1976, he did not form his own ideology but followed Mao’s decisions and theories. Deng, who rose to power in 1978, focused on rebuilding China, emphasising on market reform and economic development.
It was during his term that China allowed Hong Kong and Macau to continue their own economic and political systems even after the British and Portuguese colonial rulers returned these two territories to China in 1997 and 1999, respectively.
Deng’s ideology or the Deng Xiaoping Theory was more radical in economic reforms than political.
Deng introduced “four cardinal principles” in 1979 and these could not be challenged. The four cardinal principles included keeping to the socialist path, upholding the “people’s democratic dictatorship”, upholding the leadership of the Communist Party and upholding Mao Zedong Thought and Marxism-Leninism.
After coming to power in 2012, Xi Jinping introduced the ‘Xi Jinping Thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era’ (2017), a political doctrine that would help China become a “strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and modern socialist country” by 2049.
Xi Jinping Thought calls for strict party discipline and strengthening the party’s rule over all aspects of Chinese society.
The doctrine aims to make China a global force, have a ‘world-class’ military, and eradicate extreme poverty. Xi’s policies also focus on removing anti-corruption, focusing on environmental protection, and building more assertiveness in diplomacy.
How Xi differs from Deng and Mao
Xi Jinping did not face the same challenges like that of Mao Zedong. The erstwhile leader forged a country comprising the poor, abused, humiliated mass of people in the throes of civil war.
The biggest difference between the ideologies of Deng and Xi is a philosophical one. Xi aims to make China a global force both economically and ideologically. He is making the Chinese way of growing their economies an alternative model to the West, according to the BBC.
On the other hand, Deng built relations with the United States, economically engaged Taiwan and negotiated with the British the return of Hong Kong and Macau to Beijing.
Deng also believed in collective leadership and focused on the separation of the party and state. Xi does not believe in separating the party and the state, but only in the division of powers, Viswanath wrote in The Times of India.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)